2014-10-26 Board Meeting

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Board meeting versus workgroups

This was our first board meeting. It was not clear to the user community who would be invited to this meeting. The board meeting is restricted to the board members. After the board meeting, meeting of minutes are published. Other workgroups are organized for volunteers wanting to participate to Wikimedia activities.

Strategy: SWOT Analysis

Different board members assisted in making a SWOT analysis (full details below).

Our perceived strengths (internal):

  • experience (other chapters, other projects)
  • motivated/flexible team members
  • presence in Brussels (Belgian, European collaborations)
  • diversity (language, age, ...)

Our perceived threats (external):

  • the difference between Wikimedia and Wikipedia
  • governmental budget cuts
  • no tax free certificates for the first two years
  • other chapters with Belgian members (eg. NL, FR)
  • changing WMF approach to national chapters

Our perceived weaknesses (internal):

  • no clear goal yet
  • multilingual (need to translate texts, use of English during meetings)
  • inexperience running an organisation
  • self elected board, no women, lack of transparancy
  • future bureaucracy inside the organisation
  • lack of volunteers leading projects
  • 'yet another chapter'

Our perceived opportunities (external):

  • our central and strategic position in Europe

Discussion decisions startup teams


  • business cards: required in order to facilitate official contacts with institutions
  • mailing wikimedia.be address; private addresses + generic addresses + mailing lists


  • Distribution lists: it was decided to keep the current Wikimedia Belgium distribution list for public announcments, not for internal discussions
  • The wikimedia.be E-mail domain is currently owned by WMNL
  • Web site(s): an official http://www.wikimedia.be website will be created an will be well structured and contain all official documents. We want to be as open and transparent as possible.
  • Public relations: press, radio, TV: currently a number of (french) articles were published in the press. Journalists still have difficulties to make distinction between Wikimedia (the organization) and Wikipedia (the encyclopedia).


See also: Wikimedia Belgium Projects

The board proposes to mirror the WMF approach to funding:

  1. Individual Engagement Grants (IEG).
  2. Travel & Participation Grants (TPG);
  3. Project & Event Grants (PEG).

IEG and TPG should be combined in one funding mechanism: the "small project support", similar to the Dutch Financiële Ondersteuning Kleine Activiteiten. WM BE will ask funding from the Foundation to fund a number of these low budget activities.

PEG will be split into two: grants request from WM BE itself (eg. WLM), and grants requested by a third party and supported by WM BE. WM BE will make a planning and will file a grant request for its projects that are "certain" to be organised. Uncertain projects or projects by third parties will require a seperate budget request with the WMF.

Current projects:


We prefer collaboration which is more generic then "cooperation", which sounds too legal/business term. We want to collaborate with institutions, both governmental, or educational.


  • After official announcement of our chapter creation, focus on local meeting with contributors on main city of Belgium to take contact and create local dynamic group for regular next meeting and collective contributions.
  • Research technical knowledge to know if it's possible to inform only belgium contributor or user of Wikipedia about ours activities trought the site ?
  • Invest time and money to share information trough traditional media.

Roles of the board members

See the current distribution of the Board functions‎.

Need some more roles:

  • Community Liaison: communicate with our Wikipedia. An important role to build a credible relationship with the different language communities. You might need help from other members to assist you with languages you are not familiar with. Maybe also include contacts with the media? Romaine accepted this role; the board approved.
  • International Wikimedia Liaison: communicate with other chapters and the Foundation. Get involved in activities at chapter/foundation level (eg. Chapter Association, grants committees). Derek accepted this role; the board approved.
  • National Liaison: communicate with national organisations (eg. museums, government, education) and build a credible relationship with them. Alberto accepted this role; the board approved.

Membership management: Full and associate members

One standard fee for board members, full members and normal members. Eg. 20€. We also opt for a basic social membership fee (persons without a job, handicaps, ...). People are free to select this option.

Discussion whether to offer a free membership to Wikipedians with a sufficient number of contributions. The board currently sees no need for this.


Workgroup needs to be planned for. In the next board meeting we will brainstorm about projects.

Other Chapters and organisations

  • WMNL Conference 1 November 2014: Geert and Romaine are going. The idea is to have a Quick Session on the announcement of WMBE.
  • Flanders International Networking Event November 18th 2014: Dimi forwarded the invitation. Derek and Dimi plan to be present.

Other items for discussion

Round table. WM BE is informed about the organisation of WLM BeLux, and supports the organisation of the project. WM BE proposes to use the project as a test case: the secretary will follow the financial processing, the national liaison will follow the contacts with national museums (in casu the KIK). The board approves.

Next Meeting



The SWOT made by team members.


  • our motivation
  • our multilingualism
  • our central and strategic position in Europe
  • our flexibility and responsiveness
  • our multilingualism
  • our small size and the fact that many tasks based on a small number of people
  • our inexperience
  • Prompt and professional contact with Belgian and European institutions
  • Take the leading position in Europe in lobbying
  • Grow at a controlled, structured and sustainable
  • Loss of motivation is based on a small number of members
  • Loss of responsibility and involvement by relying on too many members
  • Unjustified increase in bureaucracy
  • Exaggerated complexity of decision-making
  • Dehumanization of the association


  • Multilingualism
  • Brussels/EU institutions
  • Learnings from other chapters (i.e. third-party funding and reach out to new potential members early)
  • Experience in running pan-European Wikimedia projects in Belgium (WLM)
  • Lack of funding/infrastructure
  • No organisational best practices yet
  • Not enough people
  • Huge interest from public/European authorities to cooperate
  • May participate in pan-European Wikimedia projects as lead without initial financial investment
  • Experience gathered from working with other chapters (Tomer, Maarten, Antoine, Dimi)
  • Personnel consistency and/or fatigue
  • Search for generally accepted modus operandi (balance operability-transparency)
  • Communications channels and languages: risk of moving too close to certain groups and alienating others based on channels/languages we use)


  • Multi-lingual country, including English
  • Decent education
  • Different interests, different education, nationalities, occupations
  • Board members of all ages are represented
  • Other national organizations to collaborate with
  • International institutions
  • There are some good Wikipedia editors; let’s attract them into the organization (as a member)
  • WMNL/WMFR members could join the Belgium organization now (also)
  • Experience in national website + administration from other chapters?
  • Multi-lingual: translations (always) required – time consuming, additional costs in printing, other wording/understanding
  • Difficulty to well understand each other (in the Board)
  • We will need/use 3 languages in the Board?
  • How we will organize our member activities? Could/should we organize activities by language/region?
  • German language not well covered for our members? Translations will be difficult for Germany. Not much German speaking members?
  • The south of the country does not like to travel to events? (experience from previous organization) -> so we might need local activities
  • The organization is not well known in Belgium (yet)
  • Will we attract enough members?
  • More members = more budget (and vice versa)
  • Belgium is small + segmented by language -> fragmented actions
  • Need to develop national website + administration
  • No women? … in the Board
  • Edit-a-thon activities seems to have limited success/impact and are countered by admin delete actions
  • A lot of federal musea are available for collaboration
  • Collaboration with other WM chapters:
  • Neighbouring countries: Holland, France, Germany
  • Extra neighbouring countries: Luxemburg, Switzerland (French/German)
  • Collaboration with educational institutions (all kinds)
  • Agree on common ways of judging on content/articles
  • We have to share languages with other countries -> discussion/agreement/policies needed
  • Every language (variant) has its own habits!
  • We must make our budget asap
  • Wikipedia <> Wikimedia: we need to clarify
  • Difficult start? Very fragmented.
  • Share languages with other countries/chapters
  • Cultural differences Netherlands/France: different ways of judging on content/articles
  • How to avoid edit wars?
  • We need Flemish/Walloon Wikipedia admins
  • Luxemburg is difficult to contact + large physical distance
  • No strategy/plan/projects yet
  • Government budget cuts: Cultural activities are no longer/less sponsored by government?
  • (too strong) Admin delete activities on Wikipedia content
  • No budget (yet)
  • Tax free gifts are only possible after at least 2 years of activity


  • Good community of contributors and good perspective see it growing.
  • Traditional Belgium expertise on inter-cultural compromise and consensus witch help us on an international movement.

The board is still a self elected Board and all tool to increase our transparency are not fixed.

  • European parliament people love our kind of non profit association working on an international healthy context to give free access of knowledge for every human.
  • We are neighbour of European parliament.

The Board member will fall on a classic top to down organisation and create a lake between on-line ethic and off-line ethic organisation. The association will loose contact and sharing interest with projects contributors.

Strategy: Goals within 2 years


  • Secretariat
  • Permanent staff
  • Yearly conference
  • Edit-a-thons
  • Collaboration with educational institutions


  • Having a wikimedian in residence somewhere,
  • Having a huge collaboration with a GLAM resulting in a big mass upload on Commons,
  • Having a workspace with a book scanner and a mini photo studio to allow each to produce contents,
  • Make some progress on the FOP


  • Wikipedian in Residence at the European Commission within 12 months (already discussing with them)
  • Third-party (i.e. non-WMF) funding and two employees in 24 months, one of them dedicated to funding
  • WMBE should be lead partner in the EU policy cooperation project of EU chapters (although CoI for me here)
  • Large membership base whose fees cover at least the minimum operational costs


  • Create at button to top dynamic on our association with micro credit ans local groups of contributors.